An old European-Javanese building situated on Jl. Slamet Riyadi in Surakarta, Central Java, houses more than 10,000 vintage batik fabrics made between 1840 and 1910.
The owner of Dalem Wuryaningratan batik museum is Santosa Doelah, who is also founder of batik business Danar Hadi. It took him more than 30 years to collect the vast range of items. Up to 1,500 of the fabrics were directly obtained by Santosa from a curator at the Troupenmuseum in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Various types of batik can be found at the museum, including Belanda, Cina and India styles, as well as Java, Hokokai and Kraton styles that were specifically created for palace families.
Most of the items were obtained from four palaces in Surakarta and Yogyakarta.
Among the collections from the sultan’s palace in Yogyakarta are kain kemben (breast cloth) owned by Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono VII’s wife, Lereng Huk batik cloth from the Pura Pakualam palace, and a 4.5-meter long and 2.25-meter wide kain dodot (wraparound cloth).
Visitors can also expect to find a series of kain dodot obtained from the palace in Surakarta previously worn by King Pakubuwono X when he wed Gusti Kanjeng Ratu Emas in 1893, as well as batik fabric made by Nyi Ageng Mardusari, one of the concubines of Kanjeng Gusti Paneran Arya Mangkunegara VII (1916-1944).
The building itself consists of three exhibition rooms featuring the different batik collections. The first room hosts the Batik Belanda collection, which is mostly in the form of sarongs adorned with flowers, leaves and animal motifs, particularly birds and butterflies. This type of batik generally has bright colors like red, green, orange and pink. The room’s walls are also filled with pictures of Dutch people wearing batik clothes, which started to appear around 1840 and reached their peak of popularity between 1890 and 1910.
“It is named Batik Belanda as it was initially only created for Dutch and Dutch-Indonesian people,” said one of the museum’s curators, Raden Ayu Febri Hapsari Dipokusumo.
Showcased in the middle room is the Batik Kraton collection from the Surakarta and Yogyakarta palaces that have quite similar motifs, dominated by sogan (brown soil) color. There is also collaboration of Batik Surakarta and Batik Pesisiran (Coastal Batik) from Lasem and Pekalongan that resulted in Batik Tiga Negeri (Three Regions Batik) that blends three different characters and colors: red, blue and brown.
“This museum not only showcases batik fabrics, but also offers knowledge about batik, starting from its history, philosophy and batik-making. All fabrics displayed here have their own message,” added Febri.
In addition to batik fabrics, the museum also features materials used in batik-making, such as canting (spouted bowl) for hand-drawn batik tulis, and batik cap (stamp). (kes)